CSA distribution #20 & newsletter

The next CSA distribution will be Monday September 23 and Thursday September 26. This return to regular weekly distributions will also mark the transition into fall crops, as a number of long-running summer items will be replaced by new ingredients for you to enjoy. It’s been a busy few weeks of catching up with overproduction and work backlogs, but we’re cautiously optimistic about moving forward into fall.

THIS WEEK’S PRODUCE

NEW! Pac choi
NEW! Saute mix
NEW! Winter squash, 2nds quality The squash bugs have won in the squash patch, so we’re currently harvesting from plants that have died. There’s a significant percentage of squash with blemishes that are going to need to be used very soon; just trim off any bad spots before cooking. Varieties include delicata squash, pie pumpkins, and butternut squash. It’s hard to tell how good the flavor will be with these. Given that these may require more creativity than usual for cooking, we’re not going to pass these off on anyone who doesn’t specifically request them; so, if we don’t get a survey back, the default will be “no.” We’re offering them for those who want to try them; otherwise, we and/or the pigs will eat them. The specimens of best quality are going into storage for a curing period & will be distributed later.
BACK! Garlic A couple heads for everyone, larger ones for full shares, smaller ones for single shares, to give a small taste of the diverse varieties of garlic we grow. These will be labeled by variety; follow the garlic link to learn more about the varieties you receive. Hopefully we’ll be back on track next year for more regular distribution of garlic.
Kale The cabbage worms have been active lately, so look it over & give it a rinse before you prepare it.
Cucumbers Nearing their end. Probably just one or two per share.
Sweet peppers We expect to have plenty to offer, including extras.
Serrano/jalapeno/cayenne pepper mix For those who also want habaneros, see the herb options.
Anaheim peppers
Summer squash On the decline, but still producing.
Okra Slowing down with shorter days and somewhat cooler temperatures.
Eggplant
Slicer/sauce tomatoes Finally easing off (maybe?)
Tomatillos Giving these at least a week off.
Cherry tomatoes Quality & production has declined, and we need room in the shares for other things.
Green beans We stopped picking them. Shelling beans may be a possibility by next week?

HERBS

4 bundles per full share; 2 per single share.
NEW! Thai red roselle Hibiscus tea is made from the calyxes of this okra relative; follow the link for directions. We’ll provide enough to make about a quart of yummy, deep red tea. The plants are only producing enough for a few shares each distribution day, but it will keep coming as long as frost holds off, so hopefully we’ll be able to get a taste to everyone who is interested.
NEW! Habanero peppers We decided to offer these among the herb choices this year. If you have more than you’re going to use fresh, these freeze well (left whole, just put in a bag or freeze container).
Curly parsley
Flat-leaf parsley
Genovese/regular basil
Thai basil
Chives
Garlic chives
Thyme
Oregano
Sage
Mint (harvester’s choice)
Tarragon
Lemon balm
Cilantro Hoping to have enough for a decent harvest this week.

MENU SUGGESTIONS

Stir fry is an obvious choice this week, with pac choi, sweet peppers, garlic, and more.

FRESH EGGS

Eggs for home delivery only this week.

RECENTLY ON THE FARM

In spite of the distribution break, we’ve been plenty busy. This is the season when the timing of the first fall frost is a major wildcard in our planning & scheduling, and we’ve been trying to get ahead by completing as many tasks as possible ahead of that deadline of frost. In addition, the continued warm dry weather has aided the maturation and drying of several bulk crops like cowpeas and popcorn, meaning harvesting, handling, and storage of this went on the to-do list as well.

WHAT’S GOING RIGHT

Overall, crops continue to thrive, yields are excellent, and bags are full. So full, in fact, that several full-share members who asked for lots of extras ended up getting two bags of produce for the previous share, because it simply wouldn’t fit in one. For several weeks, shares of members who asked for lots of extras have weighed in over 30 lb.  Fall crops are looking good, as well, with a few minor exceptions.

WHAT’S NOT SO GREAT

On our last round of deliveries, a rock hit the windshield while driving through town, resulting in a significant crack and the need for a new windshield. The delivery fees have a bit of slush to accommodate a small degree of unpredictable expenses, such as this incident, or a major increase in gas prices, for example. But it is a frustrating event, and feels like a waste of money, materials, and time. It’s worth remembering that, unlike an on-farm-pickup CSA, we take on most of the risk & cost of getting food to members.

WEATHER NOTES

Until Thursday night, September had continued our long-running dry spell, with less than an inch recorded in the month. Then, finally, an overnight stretch of storms dropped 2.76″ and at least temporarily eased our significant drought conditions. As a sign of just how dry it’s been, the morning after that much rain, our stream still had no flow in it. The thirsty ground and vegetation sucked it all up that fast. There aren’t even puddles in most places. After this bit of rain, we’ll welcome another stretch of moderate dry weather to avoid any risk of early frost and help many crops finish maturing properly.

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